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Drought hits Tana River, residents seek food aid

More than 68,000 people in Tana River require food support, says County Drought Coordinator Abdi Musa.

Short rain of 2020 and the long rains of 2021 failed, leaving pastoralists and farmers to count their losses. Scores of farmers in Tana rely on rain-fed agriculture and floods albeit they are two major irrigation schemes: Tana and Bura Irrigation Schemes are still underutilized.

According to National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Tana River County, weekly drought updates, the depleted pasture and scarcity of water has led to the decline in livestock and crop production, which has greatly affected household food security.

Therefore, most households are vulnerable and in need of assistance.

Speaking at the NDMA offices in Hola today the County Drought Coordinator said short rains of 2021started at the end of November consequently water pans were filled and pasture was sufficient.

However, he revealed that the Tana North sub-county has recorded an increase in livestock from neighboring counties. “There is an influx of livestock from other counties which didn’t receive rainfall. Camels are brought in by trucks, especially in Tana North sub-county,” he said.

Musa appealed to stakeholders to assist pastoralists in restocking livestock that had died due to drought, farmers to be given seeds, and drought-stricken families to continue receiving relief food until they fully recover from the effects of drought.

Tana River County received 1500 bags of rice and 1200 bags of beans from the relief food distribution drive launched last month by the head of state targeting 23 ASAL counties.

Registration of households who will benefit from the Hunger Safety Net Programme is ongoing targeting 68, 000 households, 34,000 have been enlisted. The registration exercise is expected to end in June.

By Sadik Hassan

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